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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Classic Soul Radio Busts a Mobile Device Move

Pandora’s move to mobile devices is no secret, as they have cornered a large share of the market.

As a live365 broadcaster, I’ve waited for the opportunity to listen to the Powerhouse Radio classic soul (and more) stream from various wireless devices using live365’s platform.

iPhone support came first.  Now, Android has followed.  The Beta version of the Android App (released in mid 2011) was not stable enough for me to recommend.

The updated 2012 Android App is great.  Having a 4g phone provides the best listening experience, although you may not have a constant 4g connection if travelling by car.

On a recent 45 minute drive between downtown Washington, DC, and Baltimore, I tried the live365 App on a Droid Bionic using Verizon Wireless.

The signal got dropped only once in downtown DC, and I can honestly say that it was a better listening experience than satellite radio’s frequent drop outs.

If you are the driver, fiddling with a cell phone/smart phone during transit is something you don’t want to do.  When listening this way, I try to set it (the phone), and forget it, until I want to turn the music off.

I also recently tried listening to Powerhouse Radio on a Kindle Fire via the built in web browser. Because Kindle uses a much slower connection speed, I don’t yet recommend listening with this device.

Download the iphone, iPad, and iPod Touch or Android App for live365, from iTunes or the Android Market, (Google Play), and tune us in on your phone!

Posted by King on 12/29 at 09:43 PM
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Black History Month Classic Soul Disc Jockeys

It’s time to have some fun and go back to those thrilling days in our past when spectacular entertainers thrilled radio listeners.

There will be a quiz, so please join in.

In 1999, William Barlow wrote a great book, Voice Over: The Making of Black Radio.

Mr. Barlow presents an outstanding timeline based story about how enterprising African American voices made their way into communities through radio to entertain, inform, and educate.

I highly recommend this book for those of you interested in the real story about how ‘black radio’ was created and evolved.

Our purpose here however is the music, so in honor of Black History Month, we present 5 disc jockeys who had a significant impact on their industry, cities, and fans.

You get to guess who is who.

Listen to the 2 minute feature below.  Can you figure out the names of all 5 disc jockeys.  Maybe you know only one.

But wait.  There’s another angle to this game.  Each disc jockey is featured from an actual vinyl record they released to the public back in the day.

Leave a comment and take a guess about who these folks are.

Some hints: think Windy City, The Big Apple, and The City of Brotherly Love.

At the end of Black History Month, I will reveal who each person is, along with the names of the songs, and the labels they were released on.

These tracks all come from my personal collection.

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Posted by King on 02/09 at 07:30 PM
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time Plays it Cool for New Year's Eve

That’s Morris Day out in front on the cover of the Time’s 1981 album, The Time.

As was normal back in the day, record label Warner Brothers stamped a “loaned for promotion only” sticker on the upper right side of my deejay copy (of the vinyl disc).

Terry Lewis, Jimmy Jam, Monte Moir, Jellybean Johnson, Jesse Johnson, and Morris Day were the Minneapolis, Minnesota Time.

They’ll be represented during the 16 hour plus Powerhouse Radio New Year’s Eve Special beginning at 9 am Eastern.

During a portion of the special, I’ll be plugging in my announcers microphone to provide an additional element of that old school classic soul touch.

As 2009 comes to a close, faith is the key, and hope unlocks the door for an optimistic year in 2010.

Before successful on-air times at both WBLS in New York City, and WUSL Power 99 FM in Philadelphia, I got some seasoning working at a variety of radio stations.

So, compare what you hear on these two brief excerpts from way back when to our special on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2009!

Total running time is 4 minutes, 30 seconds for the complete aircheck.  The first clip features WALL contest time.  Remember when radio stations always featured non-stop contests?

Clip two takes you to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

For several of my early artist interviews, visit the Powerhouse Radio archive.

I don’t have any pictures from WALL, but here’s one from May, 1977 taken at WUSS about a year after the clip recording.

By the way, the picture of me at the top of this page is new, from about 2006.

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Posted by King on 12/30 at 12:30 PM
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Diana Ross Covers Old Hit Parade

Diana Ross steps back on stage this March to kick off a new world tour.

Until then, she’ll have a great promotional opportunity as a mentor on Fox TV’s American Idol.

We’ve been playing 5 tracks on Powerhouse Radio from her new release, I Love You, (since the CD was released on January 16).

Listeners have the ability to vote on the tracks, and based on your rating numbers, you generally like Diana’s take on these 5 songs from among the dozen old classics she tackles.

Here’s the scorecard up until today (based on a scale of poor to excellent):

  • Lovely Day - good
  • More Today Than Yesterday - good
  • The Look of Love - good
  • Only You - good
  • I Want You - so so

Here’s a list of all of the Diana Ross I Love You tracks.

More on I Love You in the January 24, 2007 Powerhouse Radio Newsletter.

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Posted by King on 01/23 at 01:02 AM
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Secret Life of Sly Stone

The first time I saw Sly & The Family Stone was at New York City’s world famous Apollo Theater.  Comedian Red Foxx opened the show.  I was a young teen, not expecting the blue language of Foxx, or the audience disapproval of Sly.

You see, Sly’s concept of interracial funk was loud, in your face, and way ahead of it’s time.  The second time I caught his show, a couple of weeks later, downtown at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East, same Sly, but the accepting Greenwich Village audience had big fun...and danced to the music.

Sly Stone, pictured here, performing at the 2006 Grammy Awards, is an icon.  You’ve probably heard all of the Sly Stone urban legends, most of them true, about his legendary shows, his no shows, and his charismatic showmanship.

A big part of the secret life of Sly Stone comes from what he learned as a young genius producer/arranger in San Francisco.  He produced tracks for Grace Slick, The Beau Brummels, and Bobby Freeman.  Sly wrote “The Swim,” a 1964 hit for Freeman.

Prior to the national break out of Sly & The Family Stone, record producer Sylvester Stewart, also known as Sly, hosted a radio show at KSOL in San Francisco.

He used a deeper, mellow speaking voice, especially later in his on-air career.  This voice was a few octaves lower than the familiar sound of his singing.

Always an innovator, Sly pioneered live dedications, and signed off his radio program each night by playing the piano.

According to T. Watts, Sly had a program segment called, “the integration record.” This was an affirmative action slot for “white” rock n’ rollers every night at 11pm.

Watts says for several months during one stretch, Sly’s “integration record” song was “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones.

You may have been lucky enough to hear Sly Stone DJ.  I once caught him in New York City, filling in for the legendary Frankie Crocker at WMCA.

I regret I didn’t record his show, for it was a classic performance.  Sly was an excellent radio DJ.  I’d love to hear him back behind the microphone.

I’m sure he did other fill-in guest appearances in other USA cities, once Sly & The Family Stone became famous.

Here’s more about Sly on the radio from Dave Billeci at reelradio.com.

"He sang in the Saint Beulah Church of God in Christ choir and recorded gospel music at the age of 4, years before attending the Chris Borden School of Broadcasting in San Francisco."

"After graduating in October 1964, Sly was hired by KSOL.  He was eventually placed on the night shift Monday through Saturday."

"He was very popular with the KSOL audience. In early 1967, Sly moved from the night shift to afternoon drive until his departure in June 1967."

By the way, if you want to hear airchecks of the secret life of Sly Stone, (an aircheck is a recording from the radio featuring DJ chatter, with most of the music removed), you can find several places online, including Airchexx.com, with recordings of Sly Stone at KSOL in San Francisco, back in the day.

Dave Billeci continues:

"During those two and a half years at KSOL, Sly gradually made a transition from an imitator to an innovator.”

“He might have been considered the Bay Area’s first “shock jock.” Dave adds that eventually, Sly “wanted to devote his (full) attention to the group he had just formed: The Family Stone."

"In October 1967, Sly decided to get back into radio and was hired by KSOL’s competitor across the bay, KDIA. He only worked there for about two months before signing a recording contract with Columbia records."

The rest, as they say, is history.

Posted by King on 04/19 at 07:45 AM
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